Environmental Studies/Earth Sciences Combined Major B.A.

Information and Policies

Introduction

This course of study provides students with the basic tools of Earth sciences and environmental studies needed to address environmental problems.

Students interested in the four available concentrations (geographic information systems, global environmental justice, conservation science and policy, and agroecology and sustainable food systems) should choose to pursue the environmental studies B.A. degree. This does not apply to students who declared a combined major and concentration in agroecology and sustainable food systems prior to 2019.

Academic Advising for the Program

Advising is one way to make the most of your university experience. The advising system at UC Santa Cruz is amazing, and we encourage you to use it often. Ask questions, seek advice, and make decisions that work best for you.

To receive advising for this major, contact envsadvi@ucsc.edu. Additional information for prospective transfer students can be found in the Transfer Information and Policy section.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. degree in environmental studies/Earth sciences will:

  • Identify the societal (social, political, economic and ethical) agents and structures that contribute to environmental change. (social science competency)

  • Describe the structure and functioning of major physical and ecological components of the earth’s systems. (natural science competency)

  • Access and analyze a complex literature addressing specific topics in environmental studies, and evaluate the usefulness and limitations of individual sources of information. (analytic thinking)

  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills. (communication skills).

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

To qualify to declare the environmental studies/Earth sciences combined major, students must complete the specific courses listed below, or their approved equivalents.

One of the following
ENVS24General Ecology

5

BIOE20CEcology and Evolution

5

Plus all of the following
ENVS25Environmental Policy and Economics

5

CHEM1AGeneral Chemistry

5

STAT7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Determining qualification
  • Students who complete all the qualification courses with a grade of P, or letter grade of C or better are eligible to declare a major.

  • Students who have received one grade of C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the qualification courses taken at UC Santa Cruz will only be eligible to declare after successfully completing the same or an equivalent course with a letter grade of C or better.

  • Students with two or more grades of C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the qualification courses taken at UC Santa Cruz are not eligible to declare.

  • Students with AP credit for any of the qualification course(s) are eligible to declare after successfully completing the remaining qualification courses.

  • Students must attend an Environmental Studies Department declaration workshop when requesting to declare the major.

Appeal Process

Students who are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision by submitting an appeal to qualify for the major here within 15 days of the denial of the declaration. Within 15 days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student and college of the decision. If a student has questions about the appeals process, they should contact envsadvi@ucsc.edu.

How to Declare a Major

Students wishing to declare within the Environmental Studies Department should visit the Environmental Studies Department website and follow the steps to declare listed there. Degree requirement sheets may be downloaded from the Environmental Studies Undergraduate Program Requirements page.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

To be considered for admission to UC Santa Cruz in the environmental studies/Earth sciences combined majors, transfer students must pass equivalents of the following courses with a C (2.0) or better in these required courses:

One of the following:
ENVS24General Ecology

5

BIOE20CEcology and Evolution

5

Plus all of the following:
CHEM1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1MGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

CHEM1CGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1NGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

Plus one of the following options:
AM3Precalculus for the Social Sciences

5

OR

MATH3Precalculus

5

OR

MATH11ACalculus with Applications

5

OR

MATH19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

Plus one of the following options:

Either ENVS 25; or ECON 1 and a course in national or international politics (defined in ASSIST); or or ECON 2 and a course in national or international politics (defined in ASSIST).

Prospective transfer students should review transfer information on the environmental studies transfer information.

Students who are proposed in a different major and have advanced standing when they come to UC Santa Cruz require permission from the department to change into the major. Contact envsadvi@ucsc.edu to request permission.

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

Transfer students pursuing environmental studies majors are encouraged to transfer in the fall quarter.

Transfer students should enroll in STAT 7 and STAT 7L during the summer or fall quarter in order to take ENVS 100 and ENVS 100L in winter or spring quarter of their first year. Transfer students who have completed the screening requirements listed above can formally declare their major, following the steps in How to Declare a Major given above.

ENVS 25 and CHEM 1A are usually offered during Summer Session at UC Santa Cruz, and transfer students are encouraged to take them if they have not completed a substitute requirement or want a better understanding of the relevant material. If you are transferring, compare catalog descriptions, consult your current institution's adviser, and refer to the ASSIST website to determine equivalency. Prospective transfer students should review the transfer information.

Letter Grade Policy

This program does not have a letter grade policy, except that the senior comprehensive requirement must be taken for a letter grade.

Course Substitution Policy

Students pursuing the Environmental Studies/Biology Combined Major cannot substitute courses to count toward their upper division electives.

Study Abroad

Environmental studies students are encouraged to study abroad and participate in other off-campus programs. If students are interested in planning to study abroad
please note the following policies:

  • Students planning to study abroad must be declared in their major prior to
    studying abroad.
  • Students must have their courses they plan to take abroad reviewed and
    approved by Environmental Studies Advising.
  • Environmental studies/biology combined majors cannot petition their courses
    taken abroad for upper division course substitution.
  • For more information on EAP, please visit the UC Education Abroad Program
    website
    .

Honors

Departmental Honors. Students must have a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) in all courses used to satisfy the environmental studies upper-division requirements. To be considered for departmental honors, students are limited to no more than one grade of P in those upper-division courses.

Senior Comprehensive Honors. Only applicable to a senior thesis, senior internship, or individual work in a senior seminar. Honors must be awarded by the student’s faculty sponsor, and a second faculty member (chosen by the student’s faculty adviser) must confer.

Highest Departmental Honors. Students must have a 3.75 grade point average (GPA) in in all courses used to satisfy the environmental studies upper-division requirements and must also receive senior comprehensive honors (see above).

Students must fulfill all requirements for honors from environmental studies and biology.

Requirements and Planners

Course Requirements

Lower-Division Courses

All of the following
STAT7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Plus one of the following options
Either these courses

MATH11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH11BCalculus with Applications

5

or these courses

MATH19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

Plus all of the following

Choose one of the following:

CHEM1AGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1BGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1MGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

CHEM1CGeneral Chemistry

5

CHEM1NGeneral Chemistry Laboratory

2

Plus one of the following options
Either these courses

PHYS6AIntroductory Physics I

5

PHYS6LIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

PHYS6BIntroductory Physics II

5

PHYS6MIntroductory Physics Laboratory

1

or these courses

PHYS5AIntroduction to Physics I

5

PHYS5LIntroduction to Physics Laboratory

1

PHYS5BIntroduction to Physics II

5

PHYS5MIntroduction to Physics Laboratory

1

Plus one of the following options
Either these courses

EART20Environmental Geology

5

EART20LEnvironmental Geology Laboratory

1

or these courses

EART5California Geology

5

EART5LCalifornia Geology Laboratory

1

or these courses

EART10Geologic Principles

5

EART10LGeologic Principles Laboratory

1

Plus one of the following
ENVS24General Ecology

5

BIOE20CEcology and Evolution

5

Plus the following
ENVS25Environmental Policy and Economics

5

Plus one of the following
ANTH2Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

5

PHIL22Introduction to Ethical Theory

5

PHIL24Introduction to Ethics: Contemporary Moral Issues

5

PHIL28Environmental Ethics

5

BME80G
/PHIL 80G
Bioethics in the 21st Century: Science, Business, and Society

5

SOCY1Introduction to Sociology

5

SOCY10Issues and Problems in American Society

5

SOCY15World Society

5

Upper-Division Courses

One of the following options
Either these courses

EART110AEvolution of the Earth

5

EART110LEvolution of the Earth Laboratory

2

or these courses

EART110BEarth as a Chemical System

5

EART110MEarth as a Chemical System Laboratory

2

or these courses

EART110CThe Dynamic Earth

5

EART110NThe Dynamic Earth Laboratory

2

Plus all of the following
ENVS100Ecology and Society

3

ENVS100LEcology and Society Writing Laboratory

5

Electives

The upper-division courses should be selected in pursuit of a coherent plan of study, such as water policy-hydrology, restoration ecology-geochemistry, agroecology-soil physical processes, or environmental policy-climate change, among others, in consultation with faculty from both the Environmental Studies and Earth and Planetary Sciences departments. None of the three environmental studies upper-division courses can be an environmental studies internship, individual study or substitution course.

Three upper-division environmental studies courses

Three additional upper-division environmental studies courses (numbered ENVS 101-ENVS 179) including at least one course based in the social sciences selected from the following upper-division courses:

ENVS110Institutions, the Environment, and Economic Systems

5

ENVS130BJustice and Sustainability in Agriculture

5

ENVS140National Environmental Policy

5

ENVS141Ecological Economics

5

ENVS143Sustainable Development: Economy, Policy, and Environment

5

ENVS145Green Cities

5

ENVS146Water Quality: Policy, Regulation, and Management

5

ENVS147Environmental Inequality/Environmental Justice

5

ENVS149
/LGST 149
Environmental Law and Policy

5

ENVS150Coastal and Marine Policy

5

ENVS151Environmental Assessment

5

ENVS154Amazonian Cultures and Conservation

5

ENVS158Political Ecology and Social Change

5

ENVS165Sustainable Water Systems

5

ENVS172Environmental Risks and Public Policy

5

ENVS173An Introduction to World Environmental History

5

ENVS176Vulnerability, Complex Systems, and Disasters

5

A list of all courses offered by the Environmental Studies Department is available here. A list of which upper-division courses offered in the current year by the Environmental Studies Department are based in the natural sciences and in the social sciences is available here.

Three upper-division Earth sciences courses

Three additional upper-division Earth sciences courses (Earth and Planetary Sciences courses numbered EART 100-EART 191C). A list of the upper-division courses offered by the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department is available here.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement for the environmental studies/Earth sciences combined major is satisfied by completing:

The following courses:
ENVS100Ecology and Society

3

ENVS100LEcology and Society Writing Laboratory

5

Plus one of the following options:
Either one of these courses

BIOE151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

ENVS183BSenior Internship

5

ENVS190Capstone Course: Environmental Problem Solving

5

ENVS195BSenior Thesis Group

5

ENVS196Senior Seminar

5

EART195Senior Thesis

5

or these courses

EART188ASummer Field Internship

5

EART188BGeographic Information Systems with Applications to the Earth Sciences

5

Students taking the cross-listed course BIOE 151B/ENVS 109B are recommended to enroll in ENVS 109B.

Comprehensive Requirement

Students satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement in environmental studies or Earth sciences by completing either:

  • One of the senior comprehensive options for single environmental studies B.A. majors (see options listed below);
  • One of the senior comprehensive options for Earth sciences B.S. (see Comprehensive Requirement under the Earth Sciences B.S.).

The senior comprehensive may be satisfied by completing one of the options listed below. All courses used to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement must be taken for a letter grade.

Before enrolling in the senior thesis or senior internship option, students must formally apply to work with a particular faculty mentor very early in their thesis or project preparation. The senior thesis and senior internship option require careful planning, additional independent research, and at least a two-quarter commitment.

Students with advanced skills in one of the graduate focal areas may also take a graduate seminar by invitation from the instructor.

Either this course

BIOE151B
/ENVS 109B
Ecology and Conservation in Practice Supercourse: Ecological Field Methods Laboratory

5

or these courses

ENVS183ASenior Internship

5

ENVS183BSenior Internship

5

or this course

ENVS190Capstone Course: Environmental Problem Solving

5

or these courses

ENVS195ASenior Research

5

ENVS195BSenior Thesis Group

5

or this course

ENVS196Senior Seminar

5

Students taking the cross-listed course BIOE 151B/ENVS 109B are recommended to enroll in ENVS 109B.

ENVS 190 is offered in the spring and summer.

ENVS 183B and ENVS 195B are usually taken after successfully completing ENVS 183A and ENVS 195A respectively.

Planners

The following are two sample academic plans for students pursuing the environmental studies B.A. major without a concentration. Plan One is for incoming frosh and Plan Two is for incoming transfer students.

Plan One for Incoming Frosh


Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) MATH 3 or AM 3
ENVS 25 CHEM 1A
  EART 5 & EART 5L SOCY/ANTH/ethics
course
     
2nd (soph) ENVS 24 or BIOE 20C ENVS 100 & ENVS 100L* CHEM 1B & CHEM 1M
STAT 7 & STAT 7L
MATH 11A PHYS 6A & PHYS 6L or
PHYS 5A & PHYS 5L



3rd (junior) CHEM 1C & CHEM 1N Upper-division ENVS PHYS 6B & PHYS 6M or
PHYS 5B & PHYS 5M
MATH 11B EART 110B & EART 110M Upper-division ENVS
     
4th (senior) Upper-division EART Upper-division EART Upper-division EART
Upper-division ENVS
(social sciences)
  Comprehensive 
requirement
     

*This course is also offered in the spring term.

Students completing this major will have satisfied the SI, IN, PE-E, IS, IN, MF, and PR-E general education requirements. In addition, they will need to fulfill all remaining university, college, and general education requirements.

Plan Two for Incoming Transfer Students

 


Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) STAT 7 & STAT 7L ENVS 100 & ENVS 100L* Upper-division EART
  EART 110B & EART 110M Upper-division ENVS
     
4th (senior) Upper-division ENVS
Upper-division ENVS
(social sciences)
Comprehensive
requirement
Upper-division EART Upper-division EART
     

*This course is also offered in the spring term.

This planner assumes that a student has completed all required lower-division courses—including UCSC or community college general education requirements—with the exception of STAT 7 and STAT 7L, which is only offered at UC Santa Cruz.

A transfer student who has completed the requirements for the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) before matriculating at UC Santa Cruz, with at most two course requirements left to complete, is allowed to satisfy IGETC in lieu of the UCSC general education requirements.

Plan One for Incoming Frosh


Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) MATH 3 or AM3
SOC/ANTH/ethics
course
ENVS 23 or
CHEM 1A
   ENVS 25  
     
2nd (soph) ENVS 24 or BIOE 20C ENVS 100 & ENVS 100L* Upper-division ENVS
STAT 7 & STAT 7L
   
     
3rd (junior) Upper-division ENVS
(social science)
Upper-division ENVS
(natural science)
Upper-division ENVS
     
     
4th (senior) Upper-division ENVS Upper-division ENVS Upper-division ENVS
    Comprehensive 
requirement
     

*This course is also offered in the spring term.